Canton of Montagnac, Hérault, France.
Pre-Roman oppidum of the Pioch Balat or the Télégraphe on a hill on the left bank of the Hérault, across
from Pézenas and in the communes of Auines and Montagnac. The few soundings which have been made of
this large and important acropolis, which stands out in
the valley of the Hérault—a valley which also gives access to the Cévennes and the Causses—show it to have
been occupied from the end of Iron Age I to the Roman
On the upper plateau a structure built of large blocks
is generally interpreted as a sanctuary but could have
been a funerary monument. The forepart of a pre-Roman limestone lion has been found in a pit in the oppidum. A votive capital bearing a Gallo-Greek pre-Roman inscription apparently dedicated to a water divinity has
also been found. The site, abandoned during the Roman
period, was again occupied in the Early Christian period.
A large spring runs from the foot of the hill, near the
chapel of St-Martin-de-Graves. Examination of the site,
which owing to its privileged position near the ancient
trade routes became one of the principal population
centers of the region very early, would be well worthwhile, for recent research has shown that this oppidum
was located on an ethnic, cultural, linguistic, and administrative boundary.
8 (1950) 112;
M. Clavel, Béziers et son territoire dans l'Antiquité